05 Aug Sentencing Reform in Arizona
Recently, legislators proposed a bill that calls for sentencing reform in Arizona. The bill was written to address Arizona’s strict criminal sentencing statutes. For example, the “truth in sentencing law” currently requires inmates to serve a minimum of 85% of their sentences.
Another example is the “mandatory minimum sentencing law” for certain crimes. Put simply, this law holds judges to sentencing a specific amount of jail or prison time. By law, judges must assign the minimum prison sentence in specific cases.
Unless the defendant can prove that mitigating circumstances exist, they will likely receive a harsh sentence of jail or prison time for dangerous crimes, second felony offenses, dangerous crimes against children, and sex crimes. If you are dealing with one of these types of cases, secure solid representation immediately. Your best defense can only be built by an expert—don’t leave your fate in the hands of anyone else.
Arizona Sentencing Reform News
Bill SB1064, which passed by a vote of 50-8 in the House of Representatives, was left up to Senate President Karen Fann to bring before the Arizona Senate for a vote. The details of the bill would lessen jail and prison time for some offenders.
Because of the requirement to serve a minimum of 85% of a prison sentence, inmates have a limited number of earned release credits that grant them the ability to shorten their time behind bars. Aiming to change this, the SB1064 bill calls for increased opportunities for inmates to earn release credits.
Release credits would be granted to those who participate in programs like DUI or Substance Abuse Treatment, high school or college classes, and other self-improvement activities. SB1064 was written to benefit nonviolent offenders. It would allow jail time to be cut in half in some cases.
Senate President Karen Fann decided not to present the bill to the Senate. She has not made an official statement on the matter, but she did respond to an article from the AZ Mirror on Twitter. She said, “The majority of our caucus was not supportive. Defunding the police, lack of probation officers, and the list of horrible offenses that allowed criminals back on the street was a bridge too far.”
Get Help Before Going in Front of an Arizona Judge
Given the Senate President’s decision, sentencing reform in Arizona is not likely to occur in 2021. If you are dealing with a criminal case, you need a tough attorney. You need someone who has extensive knowledge of court proceedings, the court system, and Arizona criminal law. If you’re facing criminal charges, you can trust Todd Coolidge.
“I remember at one point in the trial…they wanted to suggest I was lying. [But] when Todd performed the cross examination, he showed with one of the officer’s body camera videos, a single frame that demonstrated clearly what I had been saying. It was a beautiful moment when that needle in a haystack was revealed. And that is just one example of the type of detail that Todd Coolidge applies to his cases.” – Steven Brown